Posts tagged ‘Review’
Today I had this very profound thought: The only predictable thing about a baby is his/her unpredictability. Pretty deep, eh? This comes after one very long, very difficult night. I should have known that his early bedtime yesterday was too good to be true! He was consistently up from the time I hit “Publish” to 10:30 pm. Then he was up consistently between midnight and 2:30 am. He slept solidly until 5:00 am when a new cycle of non-sleeping began. One of my new favourite hobbies is cataloguing Henry’s sleep times and then reflecting on the great amounts of self-pity and exhaustion I now feel.
Henry is now asleep, but I am not jinxing anything by even entertaining the thought he’ll be asleep for a few solid hours. Because of this realization, I am currently drinking a glass of wine.
Can you buy wine in bulk?
Today the weather finally warmed up enough to go for a walk! I’ve mentioned this before, but my day is greatly improved when I get a nice, one-hour long walk in there! Hubby comes with me and we take turns pushing the stroller. We stopped in for lunch at the Jacket Potato Cafe, a restaurant that specializes in jacket potatoes (aka “baked potatoes”). Hubby had one and he said it was just “ok”. I had the red lentil soup. The service was great, but I wasn’t too impressed.
We also noticed a new bakery that opened in our ‘hood! This is incredibly exciting since this is the first bakery that is within walking distance. Oh, fresh-baked carbs. I love you more than wine! We bought two Creamcheese brownies (vegan? vegan who?) and brought them home to enjoy with freshly brewed coffee. Perfection!
Being able to get out and about gets me VERY excited for spring and summer. Henry loves to go for walks and I am fortunate enough to live in an area with many interesting places to go. I wonder what other (carb-focused) adventures we will get up to this year?
Will walk for carbs (especially if they look like these).
A moment of respite before my little angel starts wailing. I am watching him now in his swing. He is content, but his eyes are open. I love when he is just chilling out and looking around, taking in all there is to see in his new world. Without fail, though, his chilled demeanor morphs into a monster; a hungry, unhappy baby monster! I try to enjoy these brief little breaks as much as I can while they last. This usually means I:
1. Go to the washroom
I would really like to take a shower but that would probably be asking too much.
Yesterday I achieved my two goals of writing Christmas cards and making dinner. By the time Husband came home at 5, though, I was absolutely tuckered and had to fuel myself with apple juice in order to have the energy to make the tofu stir fry. I did it, though! It was just “meh”. I always try to be frugal and fit by making my own stir fry sauce using soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic and honey, but it’s never flavorful enough. I think I need to either follow a recipe next time or just by a bottle of sauce. I know, horrors! Bottled sauce! Sacrilege! But desperate times call for desperate measures. And if having a two-week old isn’t a desperate time, I don’t know what is!
Since I have been housebound for the past two weeks, we’ve rented a ton of movies. Man, what did new moms do before movie rentals? Also: Before Facebook, PVRs, cable television, iPhones etc. etc.? I have never loved technology as much as I do when I am nursing a cranky baby at 3 in the morning, let me tell you!
We have rented:
The Kids are Alright: Excellent movie starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple raising two teenagers whose biological dad enters the picture… I think Annette Bening is one of my favourite actresses, and I love that she has obviously had no plastic surgery!
Get Him to the Greek: A funny, mindless, comedic romp. Russell Brand is pretty hilarious, although his pants are way too tight. We all have our faults, eh?
You Don’t Know Jack: Starring Al Pacino, a movie about Jack Kevorkian, the doctor who made headlines in the 1990s for helping terminally ill patients commit suicide. I was just a kid when he received so much media attention about his role as “Dr. Death” so it was interesting to learn the details about him. Of course, Al Pacino is fantastic in this role. Of course!
Please Give: An “indie” movie about a bourgeoisie NYC family who buys the apartment next to them and is basically waiting for the renter to die so they can remodel and expand their apartment. Of course there are many more details and nuances to this story. Great acting too! Starring Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt. Sidenote: I love the name Oliver Platt.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: I could love this movie for all its “shout outs” to Toronto alone. The characters read the actual local weeklies and Scott’s sister works at Second Cup, a classic Canadian coffee shop chain! There is even a scene in front of the club where my Husband occasionally DJs on Monday nights. Loved that! The story is themed like a video game: Scott must fight the seven evil exes of his love interest, Ramona, in order to win her affection. Lots of action in this one. I hate action movies, but since this one has clever dialogue, interesting characters, and a fresh concept, I liked it a lot. Plus it stars the adorable Michael Cera who just makes everything better.
To be frugal, I rent movies via http://www.zip.ca. For just over $6 a month, I get two movies mailed to my house with postage-paid return envelopes. I could have unlimited movies for $11 a month! The only downside to this program is that if there is a movie you are really anxious to see, it often takes months for it to actually arrive. But they say that patience is a virtue, so maybe it is still worth it in the end? These days, we’ve just been renting movies from Rogers or Blockbuster. Husband says a movie rental is $7 each! That is expensive in itself, but not bad when compared to the theatre.
No pictures today. Actually, since the middle of my review of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, I have written this entry while simultaneously nursing Henry, at times with just one finger! See my commitment to blogging? You’re welcome 😉
I think I am losing my cooking mojo. On Saturday, I made a funky-tasting squash/apple/sweet potato soup, a combination of fruits and vegetables that I thought could never go wrong! Then last night, I made a standard recipe for Chili, a recipe I have made many times before, but something must have been up with my new supply of chili powder, because it was seriously the spiciest thing I have ever tasted! Husband agreed, and we have had our share of spicy foods (Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai etc.).
I barely made it through a small bowl. At the very least, it encouraged me to drink more than my usual amount of water.
Thankfully, the Cornmeal and Whole Wheat Quick Bread I baked to go along with it turned out much better. This recipe is a keeper. It is a great accompaniment to chilies and stews, but is also great topped with jam for breakfast.
***Adapted from the September 2010 issue of Canadian Living magazine***
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup oat or wheat bran
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup milk with 1 tbsp of vinegar
2/3 cup butter, melted
3 tbsp liquid honey
1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, butter, honey and eggs. Add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, all but 2 tbsp of the cornmeal, the oat or wheat bran, brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir just enough to thoroughly mix and then scrape it into a loaf pan (I have a silicone loaf pan, but if you are using a metal one, be sure to line it with parchment paper).
2. Bake in a 350 F oven until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.
Almost makes up for the inedible chili. Almost.
The past few days, I’ve been sleeping much better than I have in weeks. I think thoughts (and stress) of work are now firmly behind me. I go to bed around 11 pm each night and wake up around 8 am. I do toss and turn a lot, use the washroom once or twice, and have sore hips, but it’s so great to spend 9 hours in bed each night. I don’t feel guilty. I feel like I should sleep as much as I can right now! Lord knows my sleep schedule is about to receive a bullet to the head in the coming weeks…
While drinking my morning coffee today, I also finished reading this fabulous book!
A library book, of course. Of course!
Bill Bryson is renowned for being a fantastic, humorous writer who can take pretty much any subject and make it fascinating. If you like history, random facts, Trivial Pursuit, and/or Jeopardy, you will love this book! The basic gist is that he explores each room in his mid-19th century house located in the British countryside and elaborates on the history of how each came to be. The chapter on the bathroom evolves into lengthy discussion about the history of hygiene practices; the dressing room discusses historical fashions; the kitchen inspires a conversation about agriculture and famine etc. It is just loaded with tons of anecdotes and historical facts you’d never learn in school. We all know Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but did you know he (and his crew) are responsible for bringing syphilis to Europe from the Americas? And without Columbus, would I have made a Cornmeal and Whole Wheat Quick Bread, since he is also responsible for introducing corn to Europe? Pretty fascinating stuff to dorks like me!
The next book in my queue is Jennifer Weiner’s Little Earthquakes which is a novel about four new mothers. Not sure I will have much time to finish it, but I think the subject matter is totally appropriate at this time in my life.
- Make a Green Monster!
- Walk to Price Chopper with Husband to buy shaving cream (you know that life is an exciting thrill ride of adventures when…)
- Watch Young Victoria
- Watch natural childbirth videos on youtube with Husband. Err, wish us luck with this one!
In case you missed it, I wrote about my excursion to America here! You will note that I didn’t buy any clothes, just lots and lots of food. It is what I do.
This morning I slept until the late, late hour of 8 am. As soon as I reached consciousness, I had one thing on my mind: Siggi’s! All I knew about Siggi’s was from what I read on other food blogs, that it was very thick and rich, very tasty, and very expensive. I knew it had to be mine!
I bought six containers of it (one is for hubby who likes to try new things too) so I broke out the “Pomegranate Passion Fruit flavour” this morning. What an awesome flavour combo, eh? I was already impressed. I had it along with a toasted whole wheat bagel with a touch of margarine, and a fruit salad made with 5 sliced strawberries, a handful of blueberries, and a handful of raspberries.
Here are some stats about this yogurt:
- 120 calories per container
- 0 grams of fat, which is utterly mind-blowing once you get a mouthful of this stuff
- 16 grams of protien, which truly makes my heart sing
- Made with milk from grass fed cows
- Ingredients: skim milk, agave nectar, passion fruit, pomegranate, live active cultures, vegetable rennet
- Milk produced without the use of bovine growth hormone
The last point reminded me of a good point to mention! In Canada, our milk production regulations are much more strict than the States, which means that it is illegal to use bovine growth hormone to increase milk production. I forgot that this isn’t the case in the U.S., and it made me sad. But then it made me happy for them that they have access to Siggi’s. It all seems to work out in the end.
My verdict? HOLY (grass fed, non-bovine growth hormone) COW! I think I like this better than even Greek yogurt! Who knew the Icelandeans (sp?) had it in them? This stuff is nuts. First, the texture: Incredibly thick, you feel like you are eating a decadent dessert. Here is a spoonful turned upside down. You will notice no slippage!
It’s like when they turn your Blizzard upside down at Dairy Queen, except about 1.2 million times healthier
Secondly, the flavour. I was disappointed not to be able to detect any of the pomegranate, but the passion fruit provided a subtle and sweet taste. It was very nice.
Honestly, I am a little squicked out that this contains no fat. When you eat it, you feel like you are scooping thick cream into your mouth. I KNOW! But you aren’t. It is fat free. This is a crazy world we live in. I kind of love it.
The kicker is that this stuff is produced in Chenango County, New York, a mere half-day drive from me (not that I mapquested it or anything). I can only hope and pray that this product shows up at Whole Foods Paycheck as soon as possible. Preferably next week when I imagine my 6-container stash will be entirely depleted.
Anyway, today is Sunday which means I have a to-do list! Let me share it with you:
- Eat amazing, life-changing yogurt – Check!
- Start laundry – Check!
- Blog – Check!
- Drink coffee
- Make a bean salad
- Cuddle with kitties
- Go to in-laws for BBQ
- Make lunch for tomorrow
- Go to bed at reasonable hour
Have a great Sunday! And don’t forget: BIG BROTHER IS ON TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Before I begin my very first Frugal ‘n’ Fit Book Review, I need to catch up on my day’s food!
For a snack, I had the very not-China Study friendly snack of a hard-boiled egg. Say what you will about animal protein, there is almost nothing as simple and satisfying to me as a hard-boiled egg. One large egg has about 78 calories and 6 grams of protein. It also has 71% of your day’s cholesterol, though!
You will notice Dr. Snuggles’ handiwork on my pinky finger there. The scratches are healing, but I still look like I got in a fight with a metal fence!
For lunch, I had, of course, a salad. I wish I could mix it up for the blog’s sake, but there is nothing as tasty and satisfying to me as a salad for lunch! Sorry dudes. There are many more crappy iPhone pictures of my salads ahead of us.
This one is almost identical to yesterday’s. Instead of almonds, though, I had walnuts. Ah, variety!
I am just about to eat 4 squares of dark chocolate. I am a creature of habit when it comes to lunch, that is for sure.
So, The China Study!
I decided to read The China Study because I had heard so many good things about it. People who had read this book seemed to come away with a completely revolutionized idea about diet and health. I am always interested in reading about the diet’s affect on health, especially in terms of its affect on disease and longevity. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to live to be 100. But I want to be 100 and playing shuffle board in Boca Raton, not shriveling away in some nursing home!
This book is divided into four parts. In the first, Dr. Campbell talks about his own scientific experience conducting experiments based on animal protein. He also participated in an epidemiological study conducted throughout China. The study itself focused on over 100 different rural counties. Rural counties were chosen because people tend to have similar genetic backgrounds and have lived in these villages over the course of many, many generations. A correlation between diet and disease was created by comparing the results from the counties, and this study confirmed that the consumption of animal protein contributes to an increase in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. He compares the diets of the rural Chinese with that of the typical American. He also compares the incidences of disease. He includes many graphs and bibliographic references. It is some impressive stuff.
The second part delves into the realm of each of these major diseases: cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. Here, he discusses how studies have proven that consuming animal protein increases the likelihood of acquiring each of these diseases. He references specific studies and again includes many references and graphs. It is hard to ignore the power of a graph!
In the third part, he briefly discusses the actual diet he recommends based on these findings. In essence, it’s a well-rounded vegan diet focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, tofu, and anything that isn’t made from the body of an animal.
Lastly, in the fourth part, he talks about why these findings have been hidden from the public for so long. He talks about the business of science and how government, lobby groups, and corporations don’t want you to know that a vegan diet can greatly benefit your health and longevity. I mean, how else are they supposed to sell Kraft Dinner to schlubs like me? 🙂
The first half of this book was absolutely fascinating. I was giving the evil eye to my Greek yogurt which is saying a lot! It really opened me up to the idea of embracing more vegan food and less of my beloved dairy and eggs (and cheese!). The second half of the book got more into the politics of science and the various conflicts the author has been involved in, trying to get the word out about veganism and health. I found this part boring and skimmed over a few pages.
After finishing the book and giving it some thought, I am definitely going to embrace more vegan foods and try to eat less dairy and eggs. I am at a bit of an advantage having been a vegetarian for 10 years, but I think it is well-established how I feel about cheese. I am not going to come out as a declared vegan. But I am definitely going to do more research about vegan diets and find more vegan recipes. I am definitely inspired.